Newport City Council declines to pull permit for St. Patrick’s Day Parade

Coronavirus

NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — The city of Newport will hold its 64th Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade as scheduled on Saturday following a city council vote Tuesday evening.

Council members voted 4-3 to maintain the permit for the event.

The council held an emergency session to discuss potentially revoking the permit over concerns about the spread of the coronavirus.

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Dennis Sullivan, the chairman of the parade committee, told Eyewitness News Tuesday morning they have no plans to postpone or cancel the parade.

“It’s a proud celebration for us and a religious celebration, as well. We hope it goes on, but obviously, they may be held to a different standard than me,” he said. “The St. Patrick’s Committee would never cancel but if we are told our permits being pulled, we definitely wouldn’t march.”

On Monday, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh announced the city’s St. Patrick’s Day parade scheduled for Saturday has been canceled, and Ireland also canceled their annual festivities.

Pawtucket held its parade this past Saturday with some added precautions.

Newport’s parade is scheduled for Saturday, March 14, at 11 a.m. Sullivan said the event draws about 50,000 people and requires a lot of planning, noting that organizers, participants, attendees, and businesses alike would be disappointed if it were to be canceled.

“It would be a big loss for the businesses, for sure. It’s a day that pulls them through,” he added. “They all have monetary concerns, as well, people who have bought preparation food for the weekend and people canceling rooms. It’s a huge economic hit down here and after what they’ve gone through with the gas crisis, it’s the last thing they need.”

Later on Tuesday, the annual St. Patrick’s Parade and Road Race in Holyoke, Mass., was canceled by city officials, our sister station WWLP-TV reports.

Anyone with questions regarding the coronavirus can call the R.I. Department of Health at (401) 222-8022 or visit the department’s website.

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